Impact of climatic change on the biological production in the Barents Sea
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- Ellingsen, I.H., Dalpadado, P., Slagstad, D. et al. Climatic Change (2008) 87: 155. doi:10.1007/s10584-007-9369-6
The Barents Sea is a high latitude ecosystem and is an important nursery and feeding area for commercial fish stocks such as cod, capelin and herring. There is a large inter-annual variability both in physical and biological conditions in the Barents Sea. Understanding and predicting changes in the system requires insight into the coupled nature of the physical and biological interactions. A coupled physical and biological ocean model is used to study the impact of postulated future atmospheric changes on the physical and biological conditions in the Barents Sea. Results from this simulation not only show that there is a large variability in the physical conditions on a wide range of time scales, but also that the temperature in the Barents Sea is increasing. The corresponding ice cover decrease is most noticeable in the summer months. The changes in physical properties will most likely have an impact on the biotope. On average, the primary production increases slightly over a 65 year long period, about 8%, partly due to an increased production in the northern Barents Sea. The model further simulates that the production of Atlantic zooplankton species increases approximately 20% and becomes more abundant in the east. The Arctic zooplankton biomass decreases significantly (50%) causing the total simulated production to decrease.